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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

SFL would consider 'Celtic B' bid

By Martin Conaghan

Celtic reserves
Celtic's reserves could play their football in the Third Division

The Scottish Football League would consider an application from Celtic to enter a B team into the Third Division.

SFL chief executive David Longmuir and Celtic counterpart Peter Lawwell recently discussed the issue.

However, SFL president Brown McMaster stressed that it was one of many topics informally raised at the meeting.

"It's at a very early stage and we would want to gauge opinion on the prospect from all 30 member clubs," McMaster told BBC Scotland.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith welcomed the idea.

"This is something I proposed quite some time ago when I was a BBC pundit," he told BBC Scotland.

"I thought it would be good for Rangers and Celtic but might also be good for the clubs in the lower divisions as it would give their crowds a boost and could be profitable.

People seem to think that SPL2 is certain to happen, but that is a lot of nonsense

SFL chief executive David Longmuir

"Albeit it would be their reserve teams, but we could still have a very strong squad of players playing in the lower division."

Top-flight clubs in a number of European countries operate B teams or feeder clubs in lower divisions.

So far none of the clubs in the Scottish Premier League have followed suit, but such a prospect comes as the present structure of the professional game is being considered for change.

The SPL recently announced plans to review its reserve league.

And the SFA last week improved the prospects of a second tier of the Scottish Premier League being formed.

An arbitration panel decided that a so-called SPL2 would not breach the SPL's agreement with the Scottish Football League, which presently runs Divisions One, Two and Three.

The SPL will hold an extraordinary meeting of its 12 clubs in mid-March and, if the proposal is approved, will open negotiations with the SFL.

Smith thinks the Old Firm could boost lower-league crowds

Longmuir, who explained that his meeting with Lawwell had primarily been about Co-operative Insurance Cup final tickets, does not see the formation of the SPL2 as a fait accompli.

"People seem to think that SPL2 is certain to happen, but that is a lot of nonsense," he said.

"It was only a legal ruling and the debate has still to take place.

"The SFL is in a better position now than when I took over. There is more positivity going on within the leagues."

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see also
SPL expansion plan given approval
19 Feb 09 |  Scottish Premier
Gold still hopeful on SPL2 plan
01 Jul 08 |  Scottish Premier
Clubs vote against SPL2 proposal
19 Apr 07 |  Scottish League

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